Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. (Isaiah 1:16-17)
Yesterday we looked at the meaning of fairness and justice - the hallmarks of one who is developing a close, intimate relationship with Jesus. Today, let's look at some other things God defines as 'hallmarks' of a dedicated life. There is more than a desire to resist wrong in life - there is an 'active engagement' in resisting wrong. That which deviates from truth or fact is resisted - actively, intentionally, and with great effort at times. It is far from easy to 'say no to wrong' because wrong has such an appeal to our earthly nature. How is it we stay true and plumb in our walk? I think it comes by learning to do good - not just 'do' good, but embracing the goodness of God within us and then walking in that goodness. We allow our actions to align with that truth.
Work for justice - as indicated yesterday, we are to no longer put ourselves first, but consider the needs of others. That leads to us helping the down-and-out. They might be without a job, short on money to make the utility bill this month, or even without a place to live. As I was playing a casual game with some others online the other night, one of the gentlemen excused himself from the group for a period while he ran some boxes of blankets and coats to the local shelter. He had listened to the weather forecast and knew the temps were dipping way low that evening. He had a means to meet a very practical need and he acted upon that prompting to do what he could. It doesn't take big things - it takes listening, observing, and then acting upon what we know we can do with what we have received.
The defenseless are really any individuals who are 'vulnerable'. Vulnerability is measured in many ways. They might be without protection of some form - much like the men and women who would benefit from the blankets and coats. They could also be a little 'naked' emotionally, making them open to attack. How can we help those who are not able to build their defenses emotionally? We come alongside them - just be there for them. We don't have to have all the answers - we just need to let them know we care, aren't going to violate their trust, and not going to abandon them when they are at their weakest. We stand strong when they cannot - allowing them to draw from our strength until they can regain a little strength of their own.
It doesn't take a lot to be the kind of disciples Jesus will use, but it does require a willingness to be used. It may mean we show up when nobody else does. It could be we give from more than our 'reserve' - taking what we have and putting it to use for another. It definitely means we make ourselves available, pay attention to those around us, and listen intently to what God leads us to do. Just sayin!
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